X_X - X Sticky Fingers X NEW POST PUNK / GOTH LP

X_X - X Sticky Fingers X NEW POST PUNK / GOTH LP

Full Contact Records
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Full Contact Records

Life's greatest pleasures are often its most
fleeting. Witness, for example, the ephemeral
run of X__X, a turbulent quartet that tore
through Cleveland like a Dadaist cyclone for
six months in 1978. Preceding his imminent
relocation to NYC, burly, blond brawler John
D Morton assembled the project as a tighter,
more rocking successor to his storied
proto-punk act, the electric eels. An early,
practice-room incarnation included that
group's inimitable singer, Dave E. McManus,
as well as future Psychotronic Encyclopedia
of Film author Michael J. Weldon. Shortly
thereafter, the cast of characters stabilized
to encompass razor-wire guitarist Andrew
Klimeyk; CLE magazine editor turned bassist
Jim Ellis; and drummer Anton Fier, who went
on to fame and fortune with the Feelies,
the Lounge Lizards, Pere Ubu, and the Golden
Pronounced "ex blank ex," the name also
doubled as a mental exercise in which a
person could insert random words or
phrases between the two letters in the
moniker. Hence, Morton's jab at the
Rolling Stones' sagging legacy for the
title of this hotly-anticipated
retrospective: X Sticky Fingers X.
Compiling a couple of prized singles with
a feast of lo-fi but raging live and
rehearsal material, the album boasts
radical revisions of several eels
classics alongside tunes that would
appear drastically altered on a Styrenes
LP and on Klimeyk's solo seven-inch. As
if that weren't sufficiently tantalizing,
underground-culture historian and
journalist Jon Savage penned the hepcat
liner notes that accompany this "really
boss set" of "mean sounds aimed at making
your feet move."
But forget that jive. The main lure is
Morton's ridiculously potent cocktail of
brute force, no-wave squall, and
nihilistic art prank. Pissed-off vocals,
ass-kicking riffs, a hard-charging rhythm
section, and the whirr of onstage circular
saws split the air. Yet somehow, tracks
such as "A," "Drapery Hooks (of My Love),
" and the grammar-flouting "Your Full of
Shit" manage to be catchier than syphilis.
Moments of genuine confusion abound, too:
"Rattler" stops dead before it truly starts,
and a snatch of audience vérité purports
to be a cover of "I'm So Fucked Up," a
"song" by one of Morton's previous "bands"
Johnny & the Dicks—in this case, a purely
conceptual one that never played music.
(Joke's on you, pal.)
Nowadays, X__X's erstwhile leader resides
in the hinterlands of New York State, a
base from where he paints, sculpts, writes,
draws, snaps photos, churns out giclée
prints, chops wood, and occasionally
travels to perform with the Dunking Swine
of Chelsea, Scarcity of Tanks, and the
charmingly-christened New Fag Motherfuckers.
Despite these numerous pursuits, he still
found time to design the package and
supervise the production of this definitive
anthology. And so, it is with tremendous
pride that Ektro Records and I present X Sticky
Fingers X in all its unruly splendor. For
your pleasure. Unto eternity.